Season of Hope. New Friends

WHAT A PERFECT TIME OF YEAR TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS!

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One of the most important and yet least understood areas of psychology concerns the role of friends in our lives. It is often awkward when you are at your spouse, partner or GF/BF holiday party. They know everyone, they are in on all the jokes. Find another awkward looking person at the party at strike up a conversation. You already have something in common, you would rather be somewhere else.

As I was finishing up school in NY I was invited to a Christmas party at a friends house. He gave me his address and I headed over there. I pulled onto the street saw cars were lined up down the street. I parked my car and followed a couple up the street into to the house. I walked in was welcomed, my jacket taken, a drink put in my hand and directed to the food. I made small talk and joined in some humorous talk. Looking around the party I realized I didn’t know anyone. I searched for friends and a wave of dread came over me when I realized, I AM AT THE WRONG HOUSE!

The host came in and asked if I needed anything,

Me, “No thank you, what a great party!”

Host, “You are at the wrong place aren’t you?”

Me, “ummm, yeah- but this party seems pretty great!”

Host, “I’ll get your jacket and you can sneak out the back door. I think the party you are looking for is 2 houses down.”

Me, “Thank you so much!”

I snuck out the back door (drink in hand) and went to the party that I was invited to. It was an equally fun party.

The next week I was getting a coffee and the guy in front of me looked familiar. Yep- The host of the party I crashed. We laughed, had a coffee together and had dinner and drinks a few times before I left for New Hampshire. I am NOT a tremendously outgoing individual.  At work it’s easy for me to be social because we have a shared experience. At parties, it’s much more difficult for me. I do not particularly enjoy “small talk”. I can never understand how my wife can go up and just start a conversation with someone.  (ANYONE HAVE ANY HELP FOR ME HERE?!)

I have been pretty lucky to have made some great friends recently. I look forward to dinner and drinks with them. We always laugh and each night, no matter how casual, is memorable.

I am thankful for these friendships and look forward to sharing this holiday season with them.

When it comes to happiness, your friends are the key.

I’ve tried to distill Friendfluence into what I believe are its most important lessons.

Here are 15 reasons to appreciate your friends:

Friendfluence is the powerful and often unappreciated role that friends—past and present—play in determining our sense of self and the direction of our lives. Whether you realize it or not, your friends have shaped who you are today. You are even the product of the friends who are no longer your friends.

Friends can give you vital life skills.  There are many perks of friendship include sharpening your mind, making you generally happier, knowing yourself better, becoming inspired to reach your goals, advancing your career, helping you meet romantic partners, and living a longer and healthier life.

Childhood friendships start your learning process. Early friendships play a vital role because they occur while key developmental changes are taking place. They help teach us some of those important life skills but also shape our life “narrative.”

Teen friendships shape your later romantic bonds. Though parents spend much of their time worrying about who their teenage kids are with, these relationships are a training ground for the later long-term bonds that will evolve through adulthood.

Friends can help you define your priorities. People tend to pick friends who are similar to them. This fact falls under the general proximity rule of close relationships, in that like tends to attract like. Because we fall prey so easily into this similarity trap, it is important to try to stretch yourself to learn from some of those opposites.

Having friends can help you get more friends. People tend to like others who have a reputation for being nice and helpful, and they like people who like them. If you want to be the type of person who attracts new friends, these qualities will help get you on your way toward building your social group. Once you have more friends, you’ll be able to enjoy some of those perks of friendship.

Close friends support you through thick and thin. To take the most advantage of friendfluence, put effort into your closest friendships. Although being friendly can get you more friends, you don’t need hundreds to help you through life. You may have to prune your friendship tree as you get older to be sure that you give enough attention to the ones who will really matter for your well-being.

You’re less lonely when you have friends.  Loneliness is painful, especially when you are living with loneliness for a prolonged period of time. This is yet another reason to put time, energy, and attention into finding and cultivating a close circle of friends.

Your online friends can steer your thoughts and behaviors. Although online friends are qualitatively different than your in-person friends, they shape you nevertheless. They can also be your source of life support.  Of course, your online friends can also make you miserable too, especially if you get caught in the “friendship paradox” (the fact that most people on Facebook have fewer friends than the average number). If you can avoid having Facebook envy dominate your life, you’ll have more rewarding connections with your extended friendship community.

Friends matter to you, regardless of gender. Although much is made of the difference between male friends, female friends, and male-female friend pairs, all share the qualities of having the potential to influence your life. If you restrict yourself to one certain type of friendship, you may be missing out on bonds that transcend gender boundaries.

Couple friendships can help your own relationship. People experiencing similar life events can often provide the most valuable support to each other. Unfortunately, some couples withdraw from their friendships when their relationship turns serious. You can benefit both from maintaining your separate friendships, but also from sharing with the couples who are experiencing transitions such as becoming parents, raising teenagers, and helping older family members.

Friends can also help you alleviate your work-related stress. Even though you may be stretched to the limit time-wise, the investment you make in these friendships will be worth the psychological benefits.

Friends can give you a reality check. Who but your closest friends will tell you that your new purchase is ridiculous? What person you meet on the street will let you know that your latest romantic interest is going to bring you heartbreak? Because friends know us so well, they are able to see things that we can’t, and aren’t afraid to share their dose of reality with you.

Banding together with friends can help you effect social change. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to fight for a cause, raise money for charity, or even just make a few small improvements in your community on your own. Friends are the first step to building successful social movements. Facebook provides one way to enlist the support of thousands of people. At a less grandiose level, people are more likely to engage in helping and altruistic behavior at the urging of their close friends.

Being a friend helps your friends. Friendfluence works in two directions. Not only do you benefit from its many perks, but by being a good friend you are helping those closest to you.  If you are aware of how you’re affecting your friends, you’ll work harder to stay close to them which, in turn, will benefit you as well. Being a good friend also includes asking them for help when you need it.

Giving someone the gift of being influential can be one of the greatest joys you pass on to your friends.

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Go make a new friend today. At least try.

Season of Hope. Reconnecting

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Whether it’s a yearly holiday letter, greeting card, or email, the holidays remind us of our long-time relationships. Some people are very fortunate to remain geographically and emotionally close to their “oldest” (or longest) friends. Like many my ADULT life (I am still in denial about being an adult) has me pretty far away from the people I grew up with. In our very mobile society the odds are that you no longer live in easy traveling distance from the people you were closest to in childhood, adolescence, or even college.

An old friend never can be found, and nature has provided that he cannot easily be lost.

Samuel Johnson

There is something great about reconnecting with old friends. It helps to remind you of where you were. Even though you can’t go back in time and relive those days, it is nice to ground yourself once in a while. Good for the soul.

Wishing you can go back will be pretty hollow, but looking at that notch in time is a good way to evaluate your place in time- in the “now”. There will always be certain memories you wish to forget. Awkward times, painful experiences and there are also things you wish you could put in a highlight reel, those things you were proud of – the accomplishments of goals and desires you have had over the years.

Then there are those very special memories with those genuine friends and family that if you could “bottle” the feelings of comfort and joy, you would open that bottle frequently and drink that in.

I look forward to seeing  cards and letters from old friends or even their Facebook posts this time of year.  It helps me drink in those memories of the time we have spent together. Last night I was out at the Breckenridge Distillery for drinks and dinner with my family and saw a photo on the wall that I had to send to my friend Jeff. Yes, we played D&D.

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Many people who knew YOU also want to know how you are doing. Send them an e-mail! A lot of people feel it’s awkward and a little nerve racking to try to get back in touch with a friend they haven’t spoken to in a while. What often happens is someone will want to drop an old buddy a line, but then they’ll think, “It will be so weird sending them an email out of nowhere. How will they react to it? Will they wonder why I’m writing them now?”

This time of year there is nothing abnormal or weird about reaching out to an old friend. You just have to put your self out there and go!

My personal story, I grew up in upstate New York. Spent most of my life in Rome, NY then High School in Cortland. Although I was only in Cortland 4 years. They were important years. Difficult as it was trying to “fit in” with others who had been together since preschool. I did manage to make some connections and feel very lucky that I am still in touch with some of them.

My first 2 years of college had me at a 2 year school in Utica. There I made a few connections and I wish I had stayed in touch with some of these people. As odd as it is the person I am closest to from that time is also the person who lives furthest away in Iceland.

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Finishing up my college career at UNH I find myself still living in the area and therefore occasionally running into people I went to school and grad school with.

Through out all of this there was my “Gymnastics Family”. Guys I did gymnastics with. Girls I coached, and those I coached with. Recently we lost a member of my gymnastics family. Dave- we miss you every day.  

I could make a list of the people who I have lost contact with that I wish I could see or hear from more often. But it would be better to say-

I miss you all. If I have lost touch, please send me an e-mail!

Keeping Things in Perspective

I have sat down to write about my friend VERNON a couple of times. Nothing I have written seems right.

xTgsHMATQ4StB4ArbffqAQI am lucky enough to live on the seacoast of New Hampshire. We are still a town small enough where you get to know most everyone and everyone still stops to help. Vern is a character in this town. Everyone knows him. His bright smile. His happy, “hello!” and his generally cheerful disposition.

I first met Vern at the now closed BREAKING NEW GROUNDS. The cafe on Market Square frequented by locals and tourists alike. Vern and I would share a table with a few other regulars as I had my afternoon coffee.  Sometimes we would talk, sometimes we would both be reading or writing. If you were lucky enough- you would make Vern’s CARD LIST.  He would sit at  the cafe and write cards to friends. Things to cheer them up, wish them a good day or just say “HI”. (I made the list by the way!) Vern has some medical issues that make walking and balance a challenge.  Even though getting around for him is difficult, he is in town on most days. At our new coffee hang out, Cup of Joes, at The Gaslight for lunch or just walking through town and sitting outside on warmer days. Many locals know Vern from his days working at the bank or the art gallery.

As the year went on, Vern’s mobility challenges increased. He went from a cane to a walker. He regularly goes to PT and I have even brought him to my Portsmouth gym, Atlantic Gymnastics, to work on some strength.

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My personal goal is to see him back on a cane this spring.

Vern and I were trying to meet up for a coffee today. I was running late because today was one of those days where I was just not having any luck. I plow my gyms and properties and today I needed to spread salt on our icy parking lots. In short, the salt spreader broke. I had to spread the salt by hand. Take the salt spreader apart. Try to fit it. In the process of trying to fix it break off two bolts skinning all the knuckles on one hand.  I then ended up bleeding all over my jacket as I drive the truck to the mechanic who will now fix what I couldn’t.

I could have been in a really pissed off mood. I was late for meetings, behind with work that I needed to do. And I was going to miss my coffee with Vern. But you know what? I live in a great area. With a great family and great friends. I can get around with out any help. I do not need a cane or a walker and if I did I know that people in town would help me carry my coffee.

Vern- Thanks for helping me keep things in perspective and thanks for the cookie today!

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GOOD RIDDANCE DAY

Thursday 12/28 was Good Riddance Day in NYC. It was sponsored by SHRED IT. A recycling company. With New Years approaching it is time to look around your house, apartment, room AND life and lighten your load.

Dig through your wallet or purse and find that relic receipt from August and recycle it.

In your life there are things that you must also get rid of. Bad thoughts or unhappy feelings need to be left behind.

Start 2018 FRESH and with a good positive outlook.

A Season of Hope. Keith Richards

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WESTON – In a startling development for the Rock n Roll community, world famous Rolling Stones guitarist and songwriter Keith Richards was found alive on Wednesday. Crew members said they found his animated body sitting beside an amp, picking at a guitar and murmuring some incomprehensible melody. Shocked but elated, the roadies took Richards back to the dressing rooms and covered his old broken body with designer scarves and skull rings.

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“It’s astounding” said longtime Rolling Stones roadie Steve Kruger, “to find him in this state is…well, it’s unexpected to say the least.” Richards, the grizzly-faced guitarist long thought to be the most likely person on the planet to next kick the bucket, was noodling on a 5-string fender when he was found miraculously still conscious. “At first I thought it was some 200-year old giant turtle that crawled in here, or a wrinkly sack of potatoes with somebody inside,” recalled Kruger. “But no! There he was, strumming away on a few opening chords to ‘Start Me Up.’ What I was seeing looked awful, but unmistakable. When I realized it was Keith, I thought it might be one of those holograms like they created for Michael Jackson and 2Pac at Bonnaroo music fest a few years back. But then I touched him and he screamed ‘what the hell do you want!?’, and I knew.”

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Figuring that they might as well use him, the Stones management has decided to continue taking him on the road. “People still want to see him perform,” said Kruger. “And they’ll pay good money to see their favorite corpse up onstage, especially if he’s moving around and kind of sort of acting like it’s all still fresh and sexy. So now it’s kind of like we’re touring with some old museum piece, or your grandma’s music box, handed down from generation to generation, still spitting out a tune,” said Kruger. “And I’ll tell ya, Keith still makes a good noise.”

A Season of Hope. Coolest songs for an alternative Yule.

I found this article. Great songs. Some of my personal favorites and some I have to go and find.

https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/cool-christmas-songs-for-an-alternative-yule/

 

The 20 Coolest Christmas Songs For An Alternative Yule

So this is Christmas? As we’re knee-deep in Yuletide adverts, Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ and Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ are on heavy rotation. Fine if that’s your thing, but it may not satisfy those keen to celebrate a hipper festive season with more ostensibly cool Christmas songs.

Don’t get us wrong here. This isn’t a Scrooge-like attempt to knock the traditions any more than it’s intended to denigrate festive greats such as ‘White Christmas’ or ‘Winter Wonderland’. Yet, if Christmas is meant for one and all, then we feel it’s also fair to offer a gift to the more adventurous music fan. If you like a hearty slice of credibility to accompany your glass of festive cheer, here’s our selection of 20 cool Christmas songs, compiled just for you.

Weezer: ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ (2008)
A short, sharp and faithful pop-punk take on the popular festive staple from the 2008 Christmas With Weezer EP. The record’s six tracks were originally recorded for Apple’s iOS video game of the same name.

The Smashing Pumpkins: ‘Christmastime’ (1997)
Recorded during the sessions for the band’s fourth album, Adore, but released on one of A&M’s star-studded charity compilations, A Very Special Christmas 3 – the third in a series of releases home to many cool Christmas songs.

No Doubt: ‘Oi To The World’ (1997)
Infectious, skinhead-style ska salute to Christmas. Originally the B-side to ‘Happy Now?’ from the Diamond-selling Tragic Kingdom.

Eels: ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas’ (1998)
Another gem tucked away on a B-side. In this case, the flip to ‘Cancer For The Cure’ from Eels’ acclaimed sophomore album, Electro-Shock Blues.

Amy Winehouse: ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ (2004)
Amy Winehouse’s earthy, bossa nova-style version of Jimmy Boyd’s 1952 Billboard chart-topper was recorded live for a BBC Radio 2 Christmas Day special, The Gospel According To Christmas.

 

The Killers: ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’ (2011)
Collecting The Killers’ annual Xmas singles from 2006 to 2011, the digitally-released (Red) Christmas EP – featuring this track – was a charity record with the proceeds going to the anti-AIDS Product Red campaign headed by Bono and US activist Bobby Shriver.

Queen: ‘A Winter’s Tale’ (1995)
A dreamy, psychedelic beauty of a song recorded at the very end of Queen’s career with Freddie Mercury. It appears on the posthumous 1995 album, Made In Heaven.

David Bowie And Bing Crosby: ‘Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy’ (1982)
Described by the The Washington Post as “one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history”, Bowie and Bing’s transcendent version of this stellar Christmas song is actually a cover of a track first recorded by The Sound Of Music-inspiring Trapp Family Singers in 1951.

Beck: ‘The Little Drum Machine Boy’ (1997)
The self-proclaimed “holiday robot funk” of Beck’s seven-minute ‘Little Drum Machine Boy’ appeared six months after his landmark Odelay album, on Geffen’s Just Say Noël compilation. It’s got freaky Roland 808 drum beats, sleigh bells and cowbells, and it’s quite brilliant.

Tom Petty: ‘Christmas All Over Again’ (1992)
Rousing, widescreen anthem with a Jeff Lynne co-production credit and a touch of Phil Spector. It was included on another of A&M’s double-Platinum Christmas collections, A Very Special Christmas 2.

Lady Gaga: ‘Christmas Tree’ (2008)
A digital download-only festive rarity which liberally samples the classic Christmas song ‘Deck The Halls’. It cracked the Top 30 of Billboard’s Holiday Songs Chart, despite the lyrics’ sexual innuendos.

 

Blink-182: ‘I Won’t Be Home For Christmas’ (2001)
Originally recorded and issued as a radio promo in 1997, but only officially released as a single in 2001. It remains the Californian skate-punk stars’ sole Canadian No.1.

Bon Jovi: ‘Please Come Home For Christmas’ (1992)
Jon Bon Jovi’s emotive cover of Charles Brown’s 1960 Billboard chart-topper was originally another stand-out on A&M’s A Very Special Christmas 2 in 1992. Issued as a single in 1994 (under the Bon Jovi banner), it went Top 10 in the UK and Ireland.

Snoop Dogg: ‘Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto’ (1996)
Featuring a sample from Isaac Hayes’ ‘Do Your Thing’, Snoop’s festive treat appeared on a Death Row Records charity compilation, Christmas On Death Row.

Chuck Berry: ‘Run Rudolph Run’ (1958)
A bracing rocker in the same 12-bar vein as Chuck’s signature hit, ‘Johnny B Goode’. Has since been covered by artists as disparate as Bryan Adams, Luke Bryan, Grateful Dead and Slaughter And The Dogs.

Rev Run and many others   Santa Baby mix

The Kinks: ‘Father Christmas’ (1977)
From The Kinks’ underrated Misfits comes this hard-hitting, socially-aware rocker, wherein Ray Davies threatens to duff up the big man with the white beard unless he “gives my Daddy a job ’cause he needs one/He’s got lots of mouths to feed”.

Pearl Jam: ‘Let Me Sleep (Christmas Time)’ (1991)
Early – and extremely collectible – Pearl Jam single, later recorded live for the 2011 compilation album Pearl Jam 20.

The Pogues (Featuring Kirsty MacColl): ‘Fairytale Of New York’ (1987)
Aside from Bowie and Bing, the only mainstream hit on the list, but it more than earns its place among these cool Christmas songs. It’s impossible to imagine the holidays without ‘Fairytale Of New York’, which was, bizarrely, recorded on a sweltering summer’s day in August ’87.

Low: ‘Just Like Christmas’ (1999)
Usually known for funereally slow alt.pop, Minnesota trio Low released the glorious Christmas EP in 1999 as “a gift to fans”. It’s transcendent and opens with this blissful bout of unashamedly pure, sleigh-bell-assisted pop.

Dropkick Murphy’s   The seasons upon us

Fountains of Wayne. Valley Winter Song

 

A Season of Hope. The Next Generation

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Today marks an anniversary of one of the worst days in America. The day a man with a gun walked into a school and killed 20 Children and 6 Adults at Sandyhook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct.

I cried that day and the world cried with us. What happened next was an embarrassment. What happened next was, nothing…. Nothing happened. We as a country failed to pass a common sense gun law. We didn’t do a thing.

We, as a country, seem to love our guns more than our children. For you Gun nuts who think the country would be better if there were more guns. FUCK YOU. Stop reading. Go away. You are hopeless. You are a sheep who is being lead by the NRA and what you read about on your right wing conspiracy blogs. If you are so tough, you should stand up and say, “Enough!” we no longer live in the wild west. So I say again, Fuck you. You don’t have to look these parents in the eye when you see them at a gymnastics meet.

I have raised my children in a world where school lockdowns have become common. Where another school shooting, drive by shooting, shootings in churches, movie theaters, and playgrounds have become common place.

You know who I have hope for? The next generation. Their voting patterns show that they want REAL change. They do not want to raise their children in a world where politicians and right wing media can deny science. Where the president elect can make up facts and deny the truth.

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This is NOT a Clinton/ Trump thing for me (I supported Sanders in the primary). I look and see that the 18-24 years olds largely did not vote for the climate change denying, NRA and KKK supported pussy grabber.

So yeah, I have more HOPE for the next generation.

 

A Season of Hope. For those no longer with us.

I had a different plan for what I was going to write this morning.  Then I started thinking about my friends and family who are no longer with us. The pain will always be there. Is it odd to find comfort in the pain? It is how I remember them.

I went to see my niece in a play the other day. It breaks my heart to see her and her brother because they look SO much like their dad who passed away.

My friend Jeff who just lost his mother asked, “How do you continue on when the person who built your heart is gone?”  

There are no simple answers. Life is comedy and tragedy. The minute you are born you spend the rest of your time on earth either living or dying. I believe in the Butterfly Effect. Your parents gave you more than life. They taught you lessons. Your job was to continue and teach those around you.  As a parent there are three things that I wanted to teach my children. The “3 R’s” 

  • Respect
  • Reliability
  • Resilience. 

We want our children to respect others and to be respected.

We want our children to be reliable. To be that person that others turn to and can count on.

We want our children to be resilient. To bounce back. I want my children to be a super ball. As children we remember the awe, how can this little ball store so much energy to bounce so high? bb0273915d14e24a6ec801a138f012f8

That is what I want from my children and, my friends, that is what your parents would want from you.  Today, tomorrow, this month. BOUNCE. Bounce so high you touch the stars. Bounce so high others look at you in awe and wonder, “how can someone store so much energy they can go so high?”

That is the most important lesson. That lesson, I hope, will give you hope and hope to those around you.

I love you both and hope that you can bounce.

What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades from the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She is gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming,
And other voices take up a glad shout,
“There she comes” – and that is dying.

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A Season of Hope. Holiday Commercials.

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The commercialism of holidays is something we’ve been hearing about for decades.

Greg Lake, who passed away yesterday, penned the song with Peter Sinfield,  “I believe in Father Christmas” in the mid 70’s. Although it is often categorised as a Christmas song, this was not Lake’s intention. He said that he wrote the song in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas.

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the Virgin birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas Tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a Silent Night
And they told me a fairy story
‘Till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked TO the sky with excited eyes
‘Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas we get we deserve

I want to believe that everyone (except for advertising executives while at work) want to get away from the commercialization. They want this time of year to be about Peace and Hope. That may be why there are a few commercials every year that are released to actually make you feel good.

 

You are destined to see this in a later post because it is based on an actual event.

Sometimes you just have to make the best of the situation you are in

A reminder to slowdown and spend sometime with your family

 

And (in my opinion) the best commercial for 2017- MOZ the Monster